October 31, 2007

Inspirational quote 1

"To know the value of generosity, it is necessary to have suffered from the
cold indifference of others." - Eugene Cloutier

The blind leading the blind...

Anonymous said...

You've heard of the expression "the blind leading the blind". Leeds Met is a case of the "unqualified promoting the inexperienced". The number of senior level academics, deans, associate deans and PLs who have nothing beyond an undergraduate degree has led to an environment of insecure, unqualified managers. And when people are insecure it leads to managers promoting similar types around them. And all of this is a classic environment for bullying to set in on an institutional level.

I worked at Leeds Met. I saw intelligent, PhD qualified individuals alienated, bullied and made to feel that a PhD was a handicap.

The above situation is common (but not restricted to) many ex-polytechnics and ex-colleges now HEIs, such as Wolverhampton, Leeds Met and De Montfort. Such places tend to be strongholds of institutionalised bullying with above average rates of workplace stress. For a reasonable explanation of the phenomenon check: Bullying of Academics in Higher Education: Former polytechnics spread their wings

October 29, 2007

The Institute of Education

Anonymous said...

The Institute of Education, I can assure you is a place where bullying and harrassment takes place and the management do nothing because they are the ones that are doing it.

The internal grievance procedures are a joke, the stress that staff are put through when they make a complaint is unbearable.

All senior staff stick together and do their upmost to push out staff who complain and the silent ones either leave or work in fear.

I heard there was one school which consisted of 4 centres where 16 staff left from the period of August 06 - March 07.

The reason why the IOE do not follow their procedures because the bullies are their friends and most of the staff are dispensible.

There is one serial bully [LF] who is also Geoff Whitty's friend [kept hush, hush of course] who has bullied 6 members of staff and guess what they have all left. This bully then accuses the staff member of not being able to do their work and brings a disciplinary action against that person who has made a complaint. And yes, they do nothing and promote the serial bully.

A special place in our hearts...

University of Arts, London:
  • 36 Employment Tribunal cases launched against the university since August 2001.
  • including 16 for unfair dismissal
  • 4 on sex discrimination
  • 4 on race discrimination
  • 3 on unspecified discrimination
  • 4 for unlawful deduction of wages
  • 13 cases settled out of court (with appropriate confidentiality clauses)
  • 1 case upheld at the tribunal stage for unlawful deduction.
OK, UCU, do you see a problem here? OK, minister in charge, do you see a problem here? OK, HEFCE, do you see a problem here? OK, HEA, do you see a problem here?

Let us guess, you voiceless agencies, you say: Universities are self-governing bodies and they can look after their own affairs! Obviously they can't! The University of Arts in London is a serial offender, there are others too. Where does one go, and what does one have to do to get justice?

Spotlight on: Ban bullying at work

At least 25% of all employees will experience bullying at some time during their working lives, estimates Ban Bullying at Work.

The charity, in conjunction with the Chartered Management Institute, recently surveyed more than 500 managers and found that 66% cited lack of management skills as a contributing factor to bullying.

However, employers are being given the opportunity to highlight and challenge bullying in the workplace by getting involved in this year's fourth annual Ban Bullying at Work Day, which takes place on 7 November.

Position of power

Bullies tend to be in a position of power, explains Lyn Witheridge, chief executive of Ban Bullying at Work.

"Bullies are often insecure, weak, ineffectual and often no good at their jobs," she says. "Typically, bullying is based on personal envy, where a person might view a colleague as a potential threat to their position."

Bullying behaviour isn't necessarily in the form of outright aggression it can be much less obvious, even covert. Witheridge says that victims of workplace bullying often experience brutal intimidation, sometimes bordering on psychological torture, which may go unspotted by others.

She warns HR and employers to watch out for signs of bullying, for example managers setting up an employee to fail by not giving that person the right tools or information to do their job setting unrealistic deadlines, or constantly changing the guidelines which will eventually break down the victim's confidence and self-esteem to the point they feel completely useless in their job.

Policies are not enough

Bullying is a serious problem in the UK, and in the workplace it crosses all age, gender and boundaries - anyone can be a target. Even though HR is racing to tighten up its policies and procedures on bullying, Witheridge argues that having a standalone policy is not enough. "Putting such policies in place just creates the illusion that we are doing something about it, but everyone needs to be educated," she adds.

"You can never completely eradicate bullying because it's part of our basic human nature. Every organisation will have workplace bullying, but you can deal with it by providing harassment training to staff."

She believes HR needs to communicate with staff and actually define what bullying means to them. Ask them to think about what behaviour is and is not acceptable in the workplace.

"We all have a duty to look after the welfare of one another at work," says Witheridge. "Our campaign is about saying that enough is enough and bullying does not have to be feared. It's about everyone raising their heads above the parapet and encouraging each other to tackle it together."

Ban Bullying at Work: the facts

  • More than two million people are bullied at work in the UK, and workplace bullying is a major cause of stress-related illness.
  • A lack of recognition and acceptance of this very basic human behaviour is the cause of much corporate dysfunction, resulting in costly damage to both individuals and organisations.
  • The Ban Bullying at Work Day (7 November) campaign is independent and is calling for all organisations to get involved.
  • Participate on the day by taking ownership of the issue and raising awareness of bullying in your workplace.
  • For further information, visit the Ban Bullying at Work website at www.banbullyingatwork.com
From: http://www.personneltoday.com

October 27, 2007

Tactics against bullying at work

...There's a lot written about bullying, especially about:
  • how common it is (the answer: it's all too common);
  • what happens to targets (the career, psychological and health effects can be devastating);
  • what management should do (adopt policies and actions).

However, management can't be relied on to solve every problem. Furthermore, often management is the problem: favoured managers are the bullies.

From the point of view of an individual being bullied, the alternatives don't look good. If you put up with the abuse, it will probably continue. If you resist, it may get worse. Many advisers say the best option is to leave.

Is it possible to resist effectively? Sometimes it is, but you need skills and psychological toughness. And you need to know what tactics to use. That's what I tell about here: tactics...

Perpetrators typically use five methods to reduce popular outrage.

(1) Cover-up: the action is hidden. Torture is nearly always carried out in secrecy.

(2) Devaluation of the victim. When the victim is perceived as dangerous, inferior or worthless, what's done to them doesn't seem so bad. Protesters are called rabble and rent-a-crowd. Enemies are said to be ruthless and untrustworthy and sometimes labelled terrorists.

(3) Reinterpretation. A different explanation is given for the action, making it seem more acceptable. Or someone else might be blamed. Protesters are said to be provocative. Their injuries are claimed to be slight. Treatment of prisoners is said to be "abuse," not torture.

(4) Official channels. Expert investigators, formal inquiries or courts are used to give a stamp of approval to what happened, leading to an appearance of justice without the substance. An inquiry into police beatings might take years and lead to minor penalties against a few scapegoats. Meanwhile, public anger dies down and the problems remain.

(5) Intimidation and bribery. Victims and witnesses are threatened or given incentives to keep quiet and not oppose what happened. Witnesses to police brutality might be threatened should they speak out...

To increase outrage from bullying, you need to challenge the five methods. Here's the general approach.

(1) Expose the bullying.

(2) Validate the target, by demonstrating good performance, loyalty, honesty and other positive traits.

(3) Interpret the bullying as unfair, and explain why contrary explanations are wrong.

(4) Mobilise support. Avoid official channels or use them as tools in exposing the unfairness.

(5) Refuse to be intimidated or bribed, and expose intimidation and bribery...

People high up in organisations nearly always support the chain of command. A top manager will almost always support subordinates in the face of challenges from lower-level employees.

Grievance procedures have many disadvantages. They are:

  • Slow - it could take months for your matter to be dealt with, while the bullying continues or you are left in limbo.
  • Procedural - the focus is on technicalities, not the unfairness of the behaviour.
  • Time-consuming - you end up spending vast amounts of time and effort preparing submissions and responding to queries.
  • Expensive - if you need legal assistance.
  • Hidden - matters are handled without publicity, and often confidentiality is expected. This serves as a form of cover-up...
Here are some ways to deter bullying.

Collect lots of information about your own good performance. Keep copies in safe places. If you plan to act against corruption or bad practices, collect extensive information to back up your claims.

Develop your skills in speaking and writing. Know how to talk with others. Learn how to write persuasive accounts, how to prepare a leaflet, how to run a publicity campaign and how to set up a website - or have reliable friends willing to assist.

Avoid doing things that can be used against you. If you spend much of your time bad-mouthing others, getting others to do your work, and claiming credit for what you didn't do, you can't expect support when the crunch comes. Have others help you gain insight into being collegial, collaborative, approachable and civil.

Be prepared to survive. You may need financial reserves. You will need psychological strength. You need exercise and good diet to maintain your health. You need supportive relationships. When you come under attack, you may need all your reserves: financial, psychological, physical and interpersonal. If you're living on the edge, you're more vulnerable.

Build alliances. There is great strength in collective action. If you have a decent union, join it and be active.

Develop options. Find out about other potential jobs. Think about a career change. Consider downshifting to a less costly lifestyle. Sometimes it's better to walk away from a stressful job. If you have such options, you're actually in a stronger position to resist, if that's your choice.

Help others. If you assist other workers who are bullied, you develop useful insights and skills - and others are more likely to help you should you need it...


October 25, 2007

University of GlamXXXX is awarded 'Divestors of People' standard

University of GlamXXXX is awarded 'Divestors of People' standard. For more info check the Hall of Shame.

This university meets at least 50% of the criteria, including: cronyism, incompetence, favoritism, or inequality, disguise of management failures, internal grievance procedures are used selectively by managers - against staff, and some academic managers are untouchable despite their failures.

October 24, 2007

Would a so-called Christian university sanction and defend this in the tune of thousands of pounds?

...At a practical level, every professor should be aware of conditions that increase vulnerability to mobbing in academe. Here are five:

• Foreign birth and upbringing, especially as signaled by a foreign accent;

• Being different from most colleagues in an elemental way (by sex, for instance, sexual orientation, skin color, ethnicity, class origin, or credentials);

• Belonging to a discipline with ambiguous standards and objectives, especially those (like music or literature) most affected by postmodern scholarship;

• Working under a dean or other administrator in whom, as Nietzsche put it, “the impulse to punish is powerful”;

• An actual or contrived financial crunch in one’s academic unit (according to an African proverb, when the watering hole gets smaller, the animals get meaner).

Other conditions that heighten the risk of being mobbed are more directly under a prospective target’s control. Five major ones are:

• Having opposed the candidate who ends up winning appointment as one’s dean or chair (thereby looking stupid, wicked, or crazy in the latter’s eyes);

• Being a ratebuster, achieving so much success in teaching or research that colleagues’ envy is aroused;

• Publicly dissenting from politically correct ideas (meaning those held sacred by campus elites);

• Defending a pariah in campus politics or the larger cultural arena;

• Blowing the whistle on or even having knowledge of serious wrongdoing by locally powerful workmates.

From: The Unkindly Art of Mobbing by Kenneth Westhues

Ban Bullying at Work Day 2007 - 7th November 2007

Ban Bullying at Work Day is now only 2 weeks away! Our main aim is to raise awareness of the issue in the UK and to encourage both individuals and organisations to have the strength to stand up and Speak Out against bullying. This year we have a new range of promotional materials, incentives and events to get you and your organisation involved.

The new campaign website is up and running so please take a minute to have a look at: www.banbullyingatwork.com

As part of our Speak Out campaign, we will be releasing 1000 balloons across the London skyline on the 7th November – the official Ban Bullying at Work Day and we want you to get involved!

Each balloon represents an ordeal that an individual has suffered at the hands of a bully, and releasing them will be an act of solidarity. Attached to every balloon will be a personal message relating to workplace bullying. We want as many people to get involved as possible. If you would like to have a personal and confidential message on a balloon then go to the website to find out more information.

This year we hope to get over a million people in the UK involved in the campaign to Speak Out and let everyone know that bullying in the workplace is too costly to ignore!

Please don't hesistate to get in touch if you have any questions at all.

Kind regards

The Andrea Adams Trust www.andreaadamstrust.org

Anonymous said...

Please publicly name and shame Guiliano Premier and Alan Guwy for running a campaign of lies against a research fellow and for denying that research fellow the right to work in a healthy research environment, a punishment made for questioning to their practices.

October 19, 2007

Bullying complaints quadruple

The number of teachers complaining of being bullied by colleagues and managers has increased four-fold in a year, according to the Teacher Support Network (TSN), which provides a helpline and counselling for teachers. It is so concerned that it has commissioned a study on bullying in schools and colleges by Glamorgan University.

Professor Duncan Lewis of Glamorgan said that 5 to 10 per cent of employees in most professions were exposed to bullying, at a social and economic cost to society. In the summer term this year, 338 teachers lodged complaints of bullying with the help­line – a considerable increase on the 83 complaints for the same period last year.

TSN hopes to ascertain whether the rise in complaints was caused by worsening behaviour or greater willingness to report bullying. Patrick Nash, the network’s chief executive, said that workplace bullying troubled increasing numbers of teachers and lecturers

“The effects include stress, anxiety or trauma for the victim, a decline in emotional and physical well-being, sickness absence and, in extreme cases, resignation,” he said.

Denise McKeon, a Bournemouth secondary school teacher, spent long periods off work suffering stress and depression during two years in which she said colleagues shouted at her in front of pupils.

She won a financial settlement in 2005, after months taking the anti-depressant Prozac. She is now supply teaching, but still finds life hard.

“The stress from the way I was treated has changed me,” she said. “I only just function now. I find it difficult to complete simple chores in the home, feel tired and have no energy to focus on my children.

“It’s like breaking a leg. Stress makes you weak and you never really get the strength back.”

Bournemouth Borough Council said that bullying was not the reason for Ms McKeon’s departure. Vicky Hughes, a council manager, said: “Had there been an allegation or complaint of bullying or similar conduct against anyone working in the school, management would have taken this seriously and investigated.”

October 16, 2007

Show solidarity, contribute to this blog, join our online forum

This blog is visited by many every day and from all around the world. In the last few months we had around 15000 visits. Although we receive various contributions, we wish to receive even more.

We would also like to increase the membership of our online forum at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bullied_academics/ and we invite you to join us.

Show solidarity with this blog and our work by making a small contribution in the form of short stories, brief postings, messages of support or any other info that relates to workplace bullying in academia. It all helps.

October 14, 2007

Access to personal data - UK

A good place to look is at the legislation itself, in this case here:


That way you don't get a filtered version of the facts.

Part II covers rights of access and procedures. If the data is sensitive and its disclosure to you might damage or distress a person, the data controller can refuse to give you documents under the "non disclosure provisions", which appear in several sections.

If you are in the process of establishing and/or proposing to defend your legal rights, considering a tribunal claim, wanting to seek legal advice etc, the data controller is NOT permitted to prevent access to the documents you need to see in connection with that – section 35.

(2): "Personal data are exempt from the non-disclosure provisions where the disclosure is required by or under any enactment, by any rule of law or by the order of a court.

(2) Personal data are exempt from the non-disclosure provisions where the disclosure is necessary—

(a) for the purpose of, or in connection with, any legal proceedings (including prospective legal proceedings) , or

(b) for the purpose of obtaining legal advice, or is otherwise necessary for the purposes of establishing, exercising or defending legal rights."

October 12, 2007

Making the star chamber work

...So that this book may be of maximum practical value, this chapter sets forth in point form some helpful hints for the professors, secretaries, and students who sit on harassment tribunals...

These tips are for the modal situation, where the tribunal needs to bring down a finding of Dr. PITA's guilt and a recommendation for punishment. Cases where Dr. PITA herself appeals to the tribunal are easier to deal with, usually by finding a plausible way to rule her complaint out of jurisdiction...

1. The tribunal should extend its jurisdiction or catchment area however broadly is required to take up the complaint against Dr. PITA - whether the incident occurred on campus or off, in his professional role or outside it.

2. Ideally, Dr. PITA should be found guilty of something before he finds out what it is...

3. To enlist Dr. PITA's cooperation in his own undoing, confound the roles of counsellor, prosecutor, and judge. In conversations with an official he believes is being friendly, he may make incriminating statements that can later be used against him...

5. Reward accusers...

8. Ignore Dr. PITA's lawyer, if he has one, and forbid the lawyer's presence at the hearing. Explain that domestic tribunals of a university proceed by norms of collegiality, and that legalistic, adversarial measures are out of the place.

9. If the faculty association or other bodies attempt to intervene on Dr. PITA's behalf, accuse them of trying to exert undue influence...

10. Ignore claims that the tribunal is biased against him. Respond as one chair did: "I am satisfied that this committee member has no apprehension of bias."

11. Disregard evidence in Dr. PITA's favour on substantive grounds...

12. Disregard evidence in Dr. PITA's favour on procedural grounds...

13. If there is evidence that Dr. PITA has discussed the case outside the tribunal (he may admit, for instance, having talked about it to his wife...), charge him with breach of confidentiality...

16. Ignore the references to context that Dr. PITA is almost sure to make...

18. Try to provoke Dr. PITA into losing his temper or doing something rash, then make appropriate additional charges...

19. In the report at the end, find Dr. PITA guilty of something, even if it is not what he was initially charged with...

23. The report should include innuendo so damaging to Dr. PITA that he will not himself release it publicly, however strong his objections...

24. Do not release the report publicly, lest the tribunal be revealed as a kangaroo court...

From: "Eliminating Professors. A Guide to the Dismissal Process", by Kenneth Westhues, published by Kempner Collegium, 1998.

October 10, 2007

Can we expect the University & College Union to do the same? Why not?

Unite, Britain's biggest union will today launch an 'anti-bullying hot mail' for staff working in the not-for-profit sector.

The union has set up a dedicated e-mail address BanBullying@Unitetheunion.com where victims or witnesses of bullying can contact the union to report instances of bullying in the workplace. The union will investigate the claims and act where necessary.

Bullying has been identified as the major issue facing staff in the voluntary sector, where union representatives report having to deal with bullying related cases more than any other issue.

Unite the union has launched a major campaign today (Wednesday 10th October) to combat bullying in the UK's not-for-profit sector. This week over 2,000 Unite representatives will receive campaign materials and advice on how to challenge the bullying culture.

The campaign is part of Unite's Dignity at Work project that advocates a zero tolerance approach to workplace bullying and promotes positive behaviour.

Unite believes that the reasons that bullying is exacerbated in the not-for-profit sector is due to lack of training for managers, coupled with the increasing pressures that workers are put under in the sector, as more is expected from staff for less.

Rachael Maskell, Unite national secretary for not-for-profit said: "It is unacceptable that people who choose a career helping others should fall prey to bullying. Our representatives in the not-for-profit sector are having to deal with cases of bullying more than any other issue.

We have set up a 'hot mail' to let staff know that they are not alone and that the union will act where necessary. Unite takes a zero tolerance approach to bullying in the work place.

We want to provide advice and support for both management and union representatives on how they can work together to create a climate of respect in the workplace and effectively deal with issues when they arise. Prevention is better than cure."

Unite will be surveying its members in November and attempt to identify the real scale of bullying.

"We hope that our research will show the true extent of bullying and prove to employers that the only way to effectively deal with bullying is to be proactive in raising awareness and promoting dignity at work. A trade union is best placed to help get this message out," added Rachael Maskell.

Union Representatives are being encouraged to organise events around Ban Bullying at Work day on November 7th to raise awareness.
Can we expect the University & College Union (UCU) to do the same? Why not? In fact, is UCU organising anything at all for 7 November 2007 - Ban Bullying at Work Day?

Please contact UCU and ask what activities is our union organising for national anti bullying day on 7 November 2007.

Removal of Support for the Whistleblower

The effect of being falsely charged within an organisation is particularly stressful for the whistleblower for the following reasons:
  • Dependence on the workplace for their own livelihood means potential supporters are much less likely to speak out and put themselves in a vulnerable position.

  • Potential supporters might readily be bribed - their stand influenced by promises of overseas conference trips, promotions they have always wanted etc. Such messages are obvious to the recipient, to the whistleblower, and to those who are watching. Many people can fairly readily accept such bribes since they feel that their promotions and other opportunities are well deserved anyway. Not unexpectedly they take the line of least resistance. Those 'bribes' are a powerful way of influencing waverers - even if they are not recipients of the 'bribe'. They are subtle, since they are clear messages from management to staff, while at the same time being (fairly) readily explained away by management as being a normal part of the business if there is an inquiry.

  • There is potential for the employer to encourage people who might be envious towards the whistleblower for some reason to speak out in particularly harsh terms, fabricate 'evidence', make up or embellish stories, etc.

  • There is a tendency for a significant percentage of the workplace to strongly resent 'destabilisation' of the workplace and they focus their anger against the whistleblower rather than management since the whistleblower is a much easier target.

  • The support mechanisms (human resource services for counselling, etc.) available within the workplace environment are not sufficiently independent of management. While such professionals might be highly trained in addressing workplace situations, much of that training focusses on assisting individuals to regain some kind of productive capacity, rather than confronting an incompetent or malicious management with a case of substantial victimisation or breach of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. In spite of it being their responsibility, the option of supporting a somewhat confused, highly stressed, perhaps fearful, relatively junior individual against a group of calm, lying, coherent, senior managers presiding over an intimidated workplace, can sometimes be just too difficult for human resources staff.

  • Since it clearly 'marks' the whistleblower, and from that point on others in the workplace either avoid them or treat them differently.

  • The whistleblower is often assigned to menial duties to ensure this lowerered status is well recognised by others, and to further stress the whistleblower. They might be asked to photocopy reports, or assigned to menial task of the activity which they questioned.

  • Administrative staff who, by their nature, spend a large part of their life making sure that things run smoothly within an organisation can react strongly against whistleblowers who object to carrying out maliciously motivated instructions. There can also be personal value system differences between whistleblowers adopting a questioning attitude towards management while administrative staff may have a preference for regulation implementation.

  • The whistleblower is likely to have considerable difficulty coming to terms with the fact that the organisation, for whom they have worked long and hard and in which they believe, is now setting out "to get them".
By Professor Brian Martin, from: http://www.uow.edu.au/arts/sts/bmartin/dissent/documents/psychiatry.html

Bosses who cause problems are 'too expensive to keep,' expert says

Thanks to the Internet, employees with a difficult boss can vent to a wide audience, not just in undertones to the nearest person.

A Web site called eBossWatch.com, which launched this summer with the slogan "Nobody should have to work for a jerk," is one example of this phenomenon.

It, like blogged tirades and the AFL-CIO's annual My Bad Boss contest, hit on an important point: Bosses can't afford to be jerks, not when the economy is in a "war for talent" mode.

It might be fun to watch Donald Trump chew out hapless sycophants on The Apprentice, but most people don't want to work for someone like him.

"Bad bosses are too expensive to keep," said Gary Namie, president of Work Doctor Inc., of Bellingham, Wash., which advises businesses on how to prevent bullying. "They cost turnover, absenteeism, lawsuits, workers' comp claims and a tarnished reputation."

Wayne Hochwarter, a Florida State University business professor who has studied workplace dynamics extensively, has a theory on why there are so many bad managers: A lot of them were promoted because they were competent at their former job, say, selling cars, but don't have a clue how to manage other people doing the job.

And most of the training they receive on management – which isn't a lot because training budgets are shrinking everywhere – is futile. "They do not train them to effectively interact with people," Mr. Hochwarter said. "They train them to know who to call if Charlie slips in the warehouse and breaks his ankle."

From: http://www.dallasnews.com

October 08, 2007

Expired disciplinary actions...

'Expired disciplinary warning cannot be taken into account when considering the sanction for subsequent disciplinary offence.

Thomson was employed in a factory where raw chemicals are processed by way of chemical reactions to produce chemical compounds. The process is highly regulated and there is a constant risk of accidents in the form of explosions or leakage of chemicals. Therefore, all employees are required to follow Diosynth's safety, health and environmental rules of procedure (SHERPS). Thomson accepted that he was well aware of this, had been trained in, and understood the importance of, the process he was required to follow in relation to the role he performed.

In July 2000, Thomson was issued with a written warning and suspended without pay for three days for failing to follow a SHERPS rule which had resulted in a chemical leakage. Thomson assured his manager this was an isolated incident and he would always follow procedure in future. He was told that any failure to do so would result in disciplinary action. The written warning was to last for 12 months.

Fifteen months later, following an explosion in which an operator died, a thorough investigation was carried out into adherence to the SHERPS rules. It was discovered that 18 operators, including Thomson, had failed to follow the same SHERPS procedure that Thomson had previously failed to follow. All 18 operators were disciplined.

Thomson accepted that he had failed to follow the procedure on three specific occasions and had falsified the records to indicate that in fact he had done so. Thomson was dismissed summarily. Diosynth made it clear that without the previous warning, Thomson would not have been dismissed.

The tribunal decided that Diosynth was entitled to take the previous warning into account as part of the relevant history of events and that the dismissal was fair. However, the EAT and the Court of Session (the equivalent level of appeal in Scotland to the Court of Appeal in England & Wales) disagreed. The Court of Session found that Diosynth was not entitled to use the time-expired written warning as the basis for taking more serious disciplinary action than otherwise would have been taken. The dismissal was unfair.

Key points
  • A warning which is allowed to remain on an employee's record indefinitely will not normally be consistent with good industrial relations practice.
  • If an employer expresses a warning to be valid for a specified period of time, it is unfair to take that warning into account as a determining factor after the warning has expired. The Court of Session stated that the employer cannot complain if it is later unable to rely upon the expired warning.
  • The Court of Session reiterated that the Acas Code of Practice should form the basis on which an employer's conduct is judged and should be used by tribunals as a guide to good industrial relations.

What you should do

  • Handle expired disciplinary warnings with care. Do not rely on them as a key factor in tipping the balance between dismissal and a lesser disciplinary sanction.
  • Give thought to the duration of any disciplinary warning at the time it is issued. Bear in mind that it will normally be necessary to fix an expiry date for the warning.'
From: http://www.personneltoday.com/

October 07, 2007

The monster in the mirror

...Although Freud published his study 'On Narcissism' in 1914, NPD wasn’t officially recognised as a personality disorder in the US until the 1980s... In the UK, there has been an ambivalent response to the apparent problem. Partly because, for a number of years, some psychiatrists questioned whether NPD and other personality disorders existed at all, while others believed they were simply untreatable. The change came in the 1990s, spurred by the government’s growing concern for the safety of the public after several attacks by people suffering from “severe and dangerous” personality disorders, and demands that they should be treated...

In Greek mythology, Narcissus, the handsome young Thespian, epitomises the concept of destructive self-love. According to the legend, Echo the nymph falls in love with Narcissus, but since she has been stripped of the ability to form her own words, she can only repeat what she hears. Narcissus, enamoured of his image reflected in a pool, addresses himself and says, “I love you,” repeated longingly by Echo. Narcissus, however, is too self-absorbed to see, hear or react. He eventually dies of languor, neglecting to eat or drink. Echo dies from a broken heart. In the myth, falling in love with one’s own image is seen as punishment for being incapable of loving another. In reality, NPD, at its most extreme, can lead to murder...

NPD appears to affect men more than women. A person with NPD is spectacularly lacking in curiosity or concern for others, but can easily simulate both if it ensures the continuation of what psychiatrists call “the narcissistic supply” of uncritical admiration and adulation.

In Narcissism: Denial of the True Self, first published in 1985, the American psychiatrist Dr Alexander Lowen refers to the case of Erich, brought to him by his girlfriend, Janice. Dr Lowen asks Erich about his feelings. “Feelings!” Erich replies. “I don’t have any feelings… I programme my behaviour so that it is effective in the world.”

...So, how do you know if a person has NPD? Mental-health professionals in Europe and the US draw on two sets of guidelines that are regularly updated by international groups of psychologists and psychiatrists to help make a diagnosis. The ICD-10, the World Health Organization’s classification of mental and behavioural disorders, published in 1992, lists nine categories of personality disorder, but does not include NPD.

In the US, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders was first published by the American Psychiatric Association in 1952, in part to provide a benchmark for insurance companies handling medical claims. The fourth and current version (DSM-IV), published in 1994, lists 10 categories of personality disorder (see page 27) of which NPD is one. (DSM-V is due to be published in 2010.) DSM-IV also gives a list of nine characteristics, of which a person has to have at least five before NPD is considered.

The nine include a grandiose sense of self-importance; preoccupations with fantasies of success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love; a belief that he or she is “special”, only understood by other “special” people; a need for admiration; a sense of entitlement or unreasonable expectations of favourable treatment; exploitative, taking advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends; unwillingness to recognise or identify with the needs of others; envious of others, or thinks others are envious of him or her, and arrogance.

In its most extreme form, known as malignant narcissism, paranoia and physical aggression may also be displayed: Stalin, Hitler and Saddam Hussein come to mind. In the rich and successful, many of the characteristics of NPD are of course seen as positive attributes. In a 2005 study, the psychologists Belinda Board and Katarina Fritzon at Surrey University found that three personality disorders, including NPD, were more common in managers than in criminals...

How narcissistic are you?

  • If a person displays five or more of the following traits, they are likely to have narcissistic tendencies
  • A grandiose sense of self-importance (eg, exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognised as superior without commensurate achievements)
  • Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love
  • Believes that he or she is ‘special’ and unique, and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
  • Requires excessive admiration
  • Has a sense of entitlement, ie, unreasonable expectations of especially favourable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
  • Is interpersonally exploitative, ie, takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
  • Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognise or identify with the feelings and needs of others
  • Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
  • Shows arrogant, haughty behaviours or attitudes
From: http://women.timesonline.co.uk
The question to ask is: How many managers in Higher Education are simply narcissistic bastards?

October 05, 2007

The worst of slaves: Linking collective corruption with stress

...A feature of corruption is that it appears to cause no stress to its perpetrators, even though they are acting against themores of the wider society. One possible explanation is that many people comply with corruption as a mechanism for avoiding stressful conflict within their organisation...

...Sanctioning of corruption is likely to occur when corporate interests dominate three sets of conflicting value systems: that of the self, that of the corporation and that of the public. In situations when an individual’s values, in the context of society as a whole, are likely to be in conflict with the organisational ones, work will be carried out only under orders. These orders may be explicit or implicit, perhaps couched under ‘business necessity’. It can be accepted that in this situation, internal personal conflict could cause stress at an individual level, but it is not known if this would be a group phenomenon.

This form of sanctioning may appear to absolve staff lower down the organisational hierarchy of the responsibility to make personal moral choices, thereby removing a cause of stress. But it also implies a lack of control, which itself can cause stress. However, even with sanctioning, for corruption to take root, compliance is essential.

...Compliance to corruption may happen in unexpected ways. A series of experiments conducted at Yale University showed that normal, ordinary people are capable of inflicting severe pain on other human beings in following orders and doing their duty...

...Of all aspects of institutionalisation of corruption that may be linked with stress, the one that is most disturbing is that of creeping induction: The essence of the process involves causing individuals, under pressure, to take small steps along a continuum that ends with evildoing. Each step is so small as to be essentially continuous with previous ones; after each step, the individual is positioned to take the next one. The individual’s morality follows rather than leads. (Darley, 1992) The implication is that once a new employee becomes a member of a corrupt organisation, there is no going back. They will accept and carry out corrupt orders. The moral conviction and courage needed to go back is so stressful that individuals prefer to comply...
  1. Collective corruption can cause individual stress
  2. Many become compliant to collective corruption and in order to reduce stress
  3. Compliance is associatedwith strong group identification, setting the stage for institutionalisation of corruption
  4. High-identifiers may feel stressed when the group is threatened andmay complywith corrupt practices to cope with the stress
  5. However, newcomers and others who do not identify strongly with the group may still feel stress in complying with corruption and become whistle blowers
First published in Stress News, the Journal of the International Stress Management Association [UK], Volume 17, Number 4 October 2005.

From: http://www.isma.org.uk/stressnews.htm

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

The serial bully displays behaviour congruent with many of the diagnostic criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Characterised by a pervasive pattern of grandiosity and self-importance, need for admiration, and lack of empathy, people with narcissistic personality disorder overestimate their abilities and inflate their accomplishments, often appearing boastful and pretentious, whilst correspondingly underestimating and devaluing the achievements and accomplishments of others.

Often the narcissist will fraudulently claim to have qualifications or experience or affiliations or associations which they don't have or aren't entitled to. Belief in superiority, inflating their self-esteem to match that of senior or important people with whom they associate or identify, insisting on having the "top" professionals or being affiliated with the "best" institutions, but criticising the same people who disappoint them are also common features of narcissistic personality disorder.

Narcissists react angrily to criticism and when rejected, the narcissist will often denounce the profession which has rejected them (usually for lack of competence or misdeed) but simultaneously and paradoxically represent themselves as belonging to the profession they are vilifying.

Fragile self-esteem, a need for constant attention and admiration, fishing for compliments (often with great charm), an expectation of superior entitlement, expecting others to defer to them, and a lack of sensitivity especially when others do not react in the expected manner, are also hallmarks of the disorder. Greed, expecting to receive before and above the needs of others, overworking those around them, and forming romantic (sic) or sexual relationships for the purpose of advancing their purpose or career, abusing special privileges and squandering extra resources also feature.

People with narcissistic personality disorder also have difficulty recognizing the needs and feelings of others, and are dismissive, contemptuous and impatient when others share or discuss their concerns or problems. They are also oblivious to the hurtfulness of their behaviour or remarks, show an emotional coldness and a lack of reciprocal interest, exhibit envy (especially when others are accorded recognition), have an arrogant, disdainful and patronizing attitude, and are quick to blame and criticise others when their needs and expectations are not met.

From: http://www.bullyonline.org/workbully/npd.htm

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

A member of staff from the university of Glamorgan did not approve of misinformation being sent to the NERC. Alan Guwy was dismayed by the correction made by this member of staff and decided to instigate an investigation against that member of staff, using information that he already obtained seven months earlier from that member of staff. The university HR religiously supported Guwy's convenient actions and the member of staff was found to be in breach of the employment contract, despite the fact that such information was made available to Alan Guwy and Guiliano Premier of the Sustainable Environment Research Centre in Wales seven months earlier.
Can somebody tell this person that a retrospective application of discipline or investigation into an alleged gross-misconduct claim is dodgy, fishy and malicious. What is the real agenda here? If the employee was in breach of contract seven months ago, then why did the responsible line manager do nothing about it at the time? Not very professional of the line manager to let it go for so long, is it? Or did he simply forget it, in which case was it really gross-misconduct?

October 04, 2007

Race case panel finds faults from above - Bradford University, UK

Bradford University has admitted that poor management has damaged staff relations, after a two-year investigation into allegations of racism that have torn apart its School of Health Studies. But a grievance committee found no evidence of race discrimination in the school, in the first of a number of race-related grievances taken out by black members of staff in the school's nursing division.

Despite a senior manager's admission of racial tensions within the nursing division in a memo last year, which reminded staff of their duties under the Race Relations Act, the university concluded this week that racism could not be proved. However, the division had been managed poorly and staff relationships had been damaged.

One black lecturer in the school, whose case was the first to conclude this week, has waited since June 2005 to hear the verdict.

In a case set to trouble a university that has made its commitment to "confronting inequality" part of its corporate identity, and in a city renowned for race-based social tensions, the academic, whom The Times Higher agreed not to name, will appeal against the decision. She said she would take the university to an employment tribunal if she was unsuccessful.

Bill Gulam, who represents the black staff involved in the grievances for the University and College Union and who has served as an equality specialist on the union's executive, said: "The findings are staggering. The university appears more interested in ignoring the race dynamic than attempting to improve it."

The Times Higher has learnt that Bradford's own "race-equality champion", professor of diversity Uduak Archibong, who is based in the school, has been the victim of racial abuse. Jeff Lucas, the deputy vice-chancellor, wrote in a memo to staff in 2000: "Many of you will know that over the last 20 months Udi has been the victim of a series of malicious and often racist messages, posters and mailshots."

The latest material had "emanated from the nursing photocopying machine", he said, adding: "It is incongruous that these episodes are happening among us." The perpetrator of the abuse was never caught.

While the direct abuse stopped after Professor Lucas's action, a source in the department told The Times Higher that tensions rose again around 2002.

A year later Professor Archibong and five other academic members of staff met with the aim of cataloguing their individual experiences of discrimination. They planned to use the dossier as evidence in a collective grievance.

In June 2004, Professor Archibong withdrew from the process. In August of that year, she was made professor of diversity. Three members of the group filed individual grievances, the first of which concluded last week.

Professor Archibong emerged during the grievance hearing as a key witness for the university. Despite evidence from other staff of a long-standing black white divide in the nursing department, the professor told the hearing there was no division along racial lines. She also requested that documents listing her experiences be destroyed.

The first grievance claim alleged that Annie Topping, head of nursing from 2002, had racially discriminated against the complainant, and that the dean of the School of Health Studies, Gwendolen Bradshaw, had allowed a racist culture to develop.

The panel concluded that, because several white staff had also complained about Dr Topping's management style, it was unable to conclude that her ehaviour was racially motivated. It found no evidence of racism against Professor Bradshaw. But it acknowledged that the university had failed in its duty to promote good relations within the university and recommended that the complainant be considered for promotion.

Dr Topping has since left Bradford for a chair in health and social science at Huddersfield University. She was abroad and unavailable for comment this week.

Dr Gulam has criticised Bradford's handling of the 25-month grievance process. He said that, after he complained that threats were made to witnesses by staff members, the committee carried out an investigation but did not reveal the outcome. But when Professor Bradshaw complained that Dr Gulam had bullied her, he was banned from appearing in the same room as the dean during the hearing.

The Times Higher understands that the committee was unable to establish that Dr Gulam had done anything more than ask the dean the same question several times in an assertive manner. On one occasion the hearing chair accused Dr Gulam of blasphemy after he used the expression "My God", and he was formally cautioned.

The Times Higher has also seen a petition in support of Dr Topping and signed by her deputy, circulated among staff in 2006. The petition, which was signed by white academic staff only, was not allowed as evidence to the hearing. Following discovery of the petition, Professor Bradshaw sent out a memo reminding staff of race relations law.

Dr Gulam, who works at Salford University, said: "Given the university's location and intake, its public image and national and international consultancy work and its involvement on race and equality issues, the conclusion reached by [the grievance committee] is disappointing."

Bradford's vice-chancellor, Mark Cleary, said: "We take any complaint by our staff very seriously, and the process we have instigated to resolve this particular case has been rigorous and comprehensive.

"We work hard to uphold our core value of 'confronting inequality, celebrating diversity', and the lengths we have gone to ensure the integrity of this procedure are testament to that. We are one of a few universities in the UK to have achieved Investors in People status across the institution."

From: http://www.thes.co.uk

Britain given stark warning on race relations

Britain, proud of its cultural, ethnic and religious diversity, remains a country deeply divided along racial lines where communities lead "parallel lives" and inequality, exclusion and isolation is suffered by many, a recent major report by the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) said.

The CRE, founded under the Race Relations Act of 1976, has worked tirelessly for the goal of an "integrated Britain." Last month, it summed up the fruits of its labour in its final report on race relations, entitled: A lot done, a lot to do. From October this year, the CRE will move away from its single- issue focus of race discrimination to become part of the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights.

Its "final legacy document" on race relations makes uncomfortable reading for government departments and other institutions accused by the CRE of failing to meet their obligations on tackling discrimination. The report, while stressing that some public bodies, including the criminal justice agencies, had made "huge strides" in the area of race relations, said that a number of government departments, such as health, education, home and foreign affairs, had failed to root out discrimination.

Ethnic segregation, residentially, socially and at the workplace, remained in Britain, said the report. "Extremism, both political and religious, is on the rise as people become disillusioned and disconnected from each other," it said. Thanks to race relations legislation, it was no longer possible, and "morally inconceivable," to practise open discrimination in Britain, such as putting up signs barring blacks from boarding houses, said the CRE. "But let's not kid ourselves. Britain, despite its status as the fifth-largest economy in the world, is still a place of inequality, exclusion and isolation."

"The simple fact is despite the progress that has been made, if you are an ethnic minority Briton, you are still more likely to be stopped by police, be excluded from school, suffer poorer health treatment and live in poor housing.According to figures released by the CRE, employment is the leading issue among ethnic minority communities. "Racism is still rife in the workplace," said the CRE. From a total of 5,000 complaints received over the last six month, 43 per cent were linked to employment.

"After 30 years of race relations and legislation protecting ethnic minorities at work, the CRE is appalled that racism is still widespread in workplaces across Britain."The most common complaints cited were workplace bullying, lack of career progression and being unable to secure interviews, as the number of race discrimination cases submitted to employment tribunals rose by a quarter last year.

National unemployment figures show that the unemployment rate for ethnic minorities stands at over 11 per cent - twice the national average. They also showed that a black person is three times more likely to be out of work than a white person. In addition, there were signs that society was "fracturing," warned the CRE report. "The pace of change in Britain over the last few years has unsettled many, and caused people to retreat into and reinforce narrower ethnic and religious ties.

"Tensions often arose from the "fear of difference," leading to diversity becoming a source of division rather than strength," the CRE said. "We live in a society where people may live side by side, occupy the same spaces and schools and shop in the same high streets, but too often they lead parallel lives that never meet," it said. The report's conclusions follow a stark warning by former CRE chairman Trevor Phillips last year, in which he said that Britain was "sleepwalking into segregation.

"The government, while stressing that it did not accept all of the CRE's findings, promised "positive and robust action" to address the concerns identified."The national picture on cohesion is a positive one. There is more that binds us together than divides us," said a spokesman for the Department of Communities and Local Government.

From: http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/118529.html

October 01, 2007

Managing moral panic

Fire is the best metaphor for understanding it. It can burn you in a flash. Out of control, it consumes everything. To be near it is risky. Failing to notice it can mean losing your life. Managed well, it gives the power of Prometheus.

It is passionate, collective craving to get rid of someone in order to
ease anxiety and fear, and make everything right again. Mass hysteria it may be called, or sometimes zealotry, mob violence, witch-hunt, lynching, or the rule of crowds. A classical sociological label is moral panic.

You may have said at some time that moral panic has no place in a university, that here intellect controls emotion, reason rules passion, sobriety prevents frenzy, intellectual independence subverts conformity, and
multicausal science disallows singlemindedness. This is the myth academe turns on. As an administrator, you have a duty to proclaim and defend the myth. You do not need to believe it...

To greater or less degree, moral panic fuels the effort to rid your academic unit of Dr. PITA. His name implies so much, at the times encourage it. Your ethnics tribunal, if it is staffed by true believers in its aims, is a tinderbox of hysteria... the tribunal encourages single-issue obsessions and an unbalanced, moralistic mentality...

From: "Eliminating Professors. A Guide to the Dismissal Process", by Kenneth Westhues, published by Kempner Collegium, 1998.

The bystander effect...

"The bystander effect is watching some evil take place, but since we are watching with others who are watching, and no one seems to be doing anything about the evil, we go on watching and doing nothing about it."

Carol Bly, Changing the Bully Who Rules the Wordl, 1966, in the chapter entitled "Evil in the Cofortable Herd." Also quoted in "Eliminating Professors. A Guide to the Dismissal Process", by Kenneth Westhues, published by Kempner Collegium, 1998.

Celebrate National Ban Bullying At Work Day - UK

Auracle Music and Beat Bullying, the UK's first national anti-bullying children's charity that aims to stop bullying where it starts, present an afternoon of music, poetry, art and performance on Sunday, November 4th at the Ram Jam Club, Kingston-Upon-Thames.

November is an important month for developing public awareness of anti-bullying causes, with National Ban Bullying at Work Day taking place on November 7th and Anti-Bullying Week happening during November 19-23.

That's why we're kicking off the month's activities with a special fundraiser event filled with exciting performances and displays of work by a diverse group of international artists and performers, many of whom have, themselves, been targets of workplace bullying.

The preliminary scheduled lineup includes performances by Tiramisu (soprano and accordian duo), Lizard (folk rock band), Artressa Phunding (performance art), the Lori Fredrics combo with bassist, Eric Rupert (jazz), poems by Jane Doe, projected images by Lin Johnson, Joan Mallon and others, and special guest artists TBA.

Admission is £10 with all proceeds going to benefit Beat Bullying. Lunch service is available for purchase from 1:00 p.m. with performances starting at 2:30 p.m. and lasting until 5:00 p.m.

For further details and directions visit: www.ramjamclubkingston.co.uk
or www.auraclemusic.co.uk/beatbullying.html